One of the first things you should get round to in Maastricht is buying a bike. You can visit one of the many bike shops to buy a new or second hand bicycle.
Buying a bike on Facebook or Marktplaats
It is also quite easy to pick up a second hand bike through Facebook. Buy/Sell a bike in Maastricht is a good place to start, but you will find a number of similar pages with a quick search. Since you’re dealing with second hand bikes from a person you don’t know, you’re buying the bike in good faith and it could be stolen. This is dangerous- it is illegal to buy a stolen bike, and you’re risking a hefty fine.
You can check the bike serial number against the database on the RDW website. Even if it doesn’t come up, ask the seller to write and sign a document stating he is the rightful owner of the bike. This should state the serial number of the bike, the date, location and price you bought the bike for. This way you cover yourself for any legal liability in theevent you bought a stolen bike in good faith.
Another option is Marktplaats (Dutch equivalent to Ebay). Always go and see the bike before you decide to buy it. That way you can check if the bike is in good shape and you can write down the seller’s contact details just in case something goes wrong. Be sensible when visiting a strangers house- take a trusted friend with you, or tell someone where you’re going.
Volunteering for a bike
If you’re on a limited budget but are willing to do a little work in exchange for a bike, try the Fietsbank Maastricht. This is a foundation by volunteers who make bikes and bike repairs available for people on a limited income. You can also donate bikes and spare parts.
Another option you can look into is getting a Swapfiets. Swapfiets is a company that provides you with a (rental) bike for a fixed monthly price; yes, you pay every month and the bike isn’t yours, but it gets delivered to you once you order it, and the company guarantees that your bike will always work – this means that if you get a flat tyre, or any other problem, they will replace / fix your bike within two days.
There are also plenty of bike sharing options in Maastricht; these include Arriva and OV-fiets. Bike sharing can be a good option for those who won’t need a bike too often: you can simply take them out for the day or a couple of hours. Bear in mind that you’ll need an OV-chipkaart to use the OV-fiets.
What to look for in a bike
When you’re looking into buying a bike, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.
- First, your bike should have working lights and reflectors, both for the front and back – without these, you risk getting a fine.
- Next, before buying, you should always check that the brakes are in good working order, for obvious reasons.
- It is also a legal requirement for your bike to have a working bell.
Gears are definitely not a must but some people do opt for them (although Maastricht and the Netherlands in general are so flat that you will be just fine without them). Lastly, there is so much turnover in Maastricht that you will almost certainly be able to get a decent second-hand bike for a decent price; this is one of the cheaper options for bikes, and we think it’s reasonable to expect (if you start searching on time) for a used bike to cost you around €70.